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Is this frost bite?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by todhurd, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. todhurd

    todhurd New Egg

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    Dec 8, 2016
    I am keeping my seven hens in an 8x12 mini barn with a very high ceiling. The temperature is down in the teens. Their combs have a whitish color now. Is this frost bite? The mini barn is not drafty but I wonder if it is too big. Would they be better off with a small encloser that might stay warmer?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    My shed is 20 feet tall, smaller sheds hold a bit more heat at night but not enough to worry about. Most birds comb takes on a slightly white appearance this time of year as the combs shrink down and the color becomes more dull. It's usually accompanied by the birds coming out of production and is perfectly normal.

    Frostbite causes the tissue to turn black, than fall off eventually. Good ventilation can help keep the risk down as moisture build up can contribute to frostbite. My hens don't get frostbite but my large combed roosters will their first season or two due to extreme below zero temperatures.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Mild frostbite can appear whitish/grayish, never going to the black of dead tissue.

    Your coop is not too big, a smaller coop 'holding heat' is fallacy, you want good ventilation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  4. todhurd

    todhurd New Egg

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    Dec 8, 2016
    So relieved. Thank you for a nice and quick response.
    Our worrying helped the chickens. My wife started giving them hot meals. She made them rice and started giving them suet.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    IMO giving them hot food in a cold climate can create moisture/condensation, which is what you want to avoid.
    Moisture/humidity in cold temps is what causes frostbite.
    Keeping the coop as dry as possible is the goal for me, it's already humid here and I don't want to add to it in any way.
    Closed waterer (heated jug with horizontal chicken nipples), removing poops off roost boards every other day, dry pine shavings for floor bedding.
    ...and of course lots of ventilation up high so moisture from respiration can escape coop.

    Rice (I'm assuming white rice) is not very nutritious....a little extra fat won't hurt but....
    Dole out the 'treats' in moderation, less than 10% of total daily feed volume.
    A good balanced chicken ration is all they really need to keep them in good health and thus better thrive thru the cold.
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    They do not need the added fat........

    All they need is the usual feed and they will be fine.......Changing feed could cause more problems than good.......Sour crop comes to mind........


    Cheers!
     

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